One of these times occurred during my re-inauguration at the Chapel of the Incarnate Word on March 25, Incarnate Word Day, which was also the date of my inauguration a quarter century ago. In scanning the crowd, I was struck by the number of familiar faces that were here in 1986, many of whom have played key roles in guiding the University of the Incarnate Word to unprecedented heights of success.
I was also struck by the changes to UIW, both in the size of the facilities and more importantly, the people. For instance, stroll the campus today and you’re likely to bump into a student from one of the more than 60 countries represented at UIW.
In two and a half decades, we’ve established a powerful, well-known brand in our home base of San Antonio. Our vision for the future is for the UIW brand to be equally known statewide, nationally and internationally.
Looking ahead, we’re in a position to grow into one of the two largest private universities in Texas by 2020. Some people think this is a pipe dream on my part. As a result, I’ve heard the same question I was asked in 1986 when we were one of the smallest private colleges in the state: Is this possible? You bet. Look at our track record.
This fall, for example, UIW will become one of only four private universities in Texas with at least 8,000 students. And we continue anticipating the needs of the educational marketplace through the development of innovative academic programs, such as our new doctoral degrees in nursing and physical therapy.
The other question I’m regularly asked: Why is growth important to us?
Growth provides access and opens doors. It allows us to keep building upon the legacy established by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word when they founded this educational ministry in 1881. Part of this legacy is to make it possible for people who want to attain an Incarnate Word education to do so, whether it’s online, in ADCaP or at our campuses in China, Mexico and Texas. Continued access in the future will keep us linked to our heritage.
I’ve also been asked numerous times during the past 12 months how it feels to have had the vision to take a chance on Incarnate Word 25 years ago. Truth be told, it was actually the Congregation that had the vision (and courage) to take a chance on an untried 33-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, to run the college.
Please accept my thanks for your commitment to our community. Your support allows us to continue fulfilling Incarnate Word’s goal of offering students the best possible educational opportunities within a context of faith.
Special blessings on you and your loved ones throughout the remainder of the summer.
Louis J. Agnese Jr., Ph.D.